HOW TO BREAK INTO COMICS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING
On the eve of SCALPED VOL 5 coming out next week and as the editor credited with “discovering" writer Jason Aaron, I thought it’d be cool to tell the tale of how it all began...cue wavy flashback camera shot...
Sometime in 2003, when Jason first approached me (literally out of the blue) with what would become THE OTHER SIDE, he was very polite, persistent without being annoying, professional in his correspondence (too much alliteration!) and all the other things you need to be to "break in"...but I still was putting him off since I had no idea if he could actually write.
And given the number of writers who pitch me stuff every week (right now I have a stack of about 10-15 pitches I still need to answer post SDCC), I have to make decisions based on what I know of their work. Easier said than done.
But here's the difference with Jason...he actually WROTE it. His last ditch effort was, "I know it's long shot but I wrote the first script cus I HAD to and I think it's pretty good. If you read and like it, cool. If not, thanks for your time." So I read it and I LOVED it and that was that. Now he's a big star and I look like a genius...ok, not really. I mean I am a genius but he's only a medium-size star. heh heh.
But that's the EXCEPTION.
You might be shocked how often new writers tell me that they either haven't written the script or haven’t planned on writing it yet or don't want to write it on spec. When you’re at that “starting out” level, my advice is always, "Look, you're gonna have to write this thing sooner or later so if it's a question for me, write it and I’ll have more to go on. Worse case, you’re gonna have a legit editor give you unbiased feedback.” That falls on deaf ears (or worse people get combative) more often than it doesn't.
Bottom line -- you need to do the work. Then do it again. And again. And again. Sitting in a bar calling yourself a writer is not the same thing as BEING a writer. Writers write. End of story.
And yeah...it has to be effin GREAT...so, as Jason often says, stop worrying about playing the game/breaking in/getting ahead and just focus on the WORK. Make it kick ass. It WILL find a home somewhere.
“The most important thing is WORK” – Lou Reed